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THE ASPHYX - 3 Slimes
Rated PG
Copyright 1973 Glendale Film Productions
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 3 October 2007

Capsule Review:    

A Victorian era scientist discovers that mortality is directly linked to ghostly spirits that manifest when something is close to death. He creates a special photographic device to reveal and imprison the otherwise invisible spirits. Every living thing has its own personal Asphyx. Driven by the grief of his son's accidental drowning, the man resolves to thwart death permanently. With his machine, the scientist can capture a person's Asphyx and make them immortal. His first attempt is successful and an immortal guinea pig results.

Unfortunately, luring an ephemeral reaper close enough to be captured requires that the subject be in mortal danger. Creating an "impending death" situation for his daughter causes tragedy. The scientist builds a guillotine to capture his daughter's Asphyx, but the experiment goes wrong and she is beheaded! By the end of the movie, the scientist is a lonely old man, wandering through a world that has passed him by.

There are a lot of nice period sets and the character interaction is the steady, semi-formal type stereotypical of films set near the turn of the century. Plus, the Asphyx looks and sounds ghastly when captured by the scientist's special spotlight. First time viewers should watch the opening sequence again; it does not deliver its full effect unless you have seen the movie at least once.


Things I Learned From This Movie:  

Green Dot In the old days, women's clothing doubled as personal flotation devices.
Green Dot The Grim Reaper is a variety of moth.
Green Dot Guinea pigs cause insomnia.
Green Dot The only downsides to electrocution are that you wet yourself and smell like burnt hair for three days.

Stuff To Watch For:  

Green Dot 20 mins - But, it doesn't look like him at all...
Green Dot 38 mins - Poison pâté!
Green Dot 54 mins - There are times when you might welcome death. What if you were caught inside of a burning house or accidentally swallowed a quart of wasps?
Green Dot 83 mins - Maybe you can sew it back on.

Buy It Now Online:  

Buy it from Amazon.com   (United States)

Buy it from Movies Unlimited   (United States)


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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Re: The Asphyx (Capsule Review)
Reply #1. Posted on October 05, 2007, 10:11:52 AM by AndyC
Love this movie. First saw it on late-night TV as a teenager. Found a copy on eBay a few years ago. Has a nice Hammery feel to it.

A couple of things stand out for me with this movie, most notably that our gentleman scientist, much like the Legion of Doom, is only allowed to use a plan once. The electric chair worked perfectly. It was controllable, easy to stop, and wouldn't necessarily kill quickly. It was a complete success. So, what does he do? Build a trick guillotine. When that fails catastrophically, does he return to what worked? No, he builds a gas chamber.

Of course, the gas was part of Giles' plan, but nobody seems to consider that they are jumping through a lot of execution devices.

Was that, perhaps, the movie's gimmick? You get to see people hanged, electrocuted, beheaded and gassed, not to mention blown up and smooshed between two colliding cars.

Did find it interesting that although Cunningham is immortal, he still ages. Assuming he recovers from the car accident, maybe he'll turn into the Face of Boe in a few hundred thousand years. That is, if he doesn't get his head chopped off by Clancy Brown in 1986. Actually, that would seem like a logical part of the process. TeddyR
Re: The Asphyx (Capsule Review)
Reply #2. Posted on October 07, 2007, 12:15:39 PM by Greenhornet
Quote
The scientist builds a guillotine to capture his daughter's Asphyx, but the experiment goes wrong and she is beheaded!
And this "brilliant" scientist didn't see that coming? I mean it's a freaking guillotine it cuts off peoples heads! If the experiment HAD worked, wouldn't he have ended up with a "Jan-In-The-Pan"?
I think that mad scientists need friends who talk LESS about "tampering in God's domain" and MORE about "what happens if...." Twirling
Re: The Asphyx (Capsule Review)
Reply #3. Posted on October 07, 2007, 10:48:15 PM by AndyC
The guillotine had a brake on it, to stop the blade just short of doing the job.

Makes you wonder though. The Asphyx seems to be smart enough to know what a guillotine is, or at least that it is dangerous. But the critter is not smart enough to know about the safety mechanism, or that Sir Hugo has no intention of beheading anyone.

Judging by the outcome, maybe it's just smart enough to recognize that Sir Hugo is a complete numbnuts.
Re: The Asphyx (Capsule Review)
Reply #4. Posted on October 11, 2007, 06:21:57 AM by Kooshmeister
I found the preview for this movie on YouTube a couple of nights ago. I had a nightmare about it the very same night. Either I'm very easy to scare, or this is proof that old British horror movies can still pack a punch.
Re: The Asphyx (Capsule Review)
Reply #5. Posted on October 11, 2007, 09:48:43 PM by Andrew
I found the preview for this movie on YouTube a couple of nights ago. I had a nightmare about it the very same night. Either I'm very easy to scare, or this is proof that old British horror movies can still pack a punch.

I like the film and think it has both interesting ideas and some truly creepy parts.  My vote is that, while it has some funny flaws, it is a well-crafted story and that is the goal of most any movie.
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